With our humblest thanks to God for our abundance, OnionBusiness sends Thanksgiving well-wishes to all. We draw from the wisdom of those who gave their utmost for this great nation and share with you words spoken centuries ago that continue to ring true today.
On Oct. 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation, noting a year “filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.” And he said, “To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”
The United States was gripped by what Lincoln described as “a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions…,” and even as war raged on, he gave thanks to God for “the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.” Battles continued to be won – and lost – by both sides in the conflict, but the source of the divided country’s bounty remained on His throne.
And the President observed, “No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.
“And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union”
Many years before Lincoln issued his Proclamation, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin shared his thoughts on both providence and provision, saying, “That there is one God, who made all things. That he governs the world by his providence. That he might be worshipped by adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving. But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to Man. That the Soul is immortal. And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice, either here or hereafter.”
And George Washington, Father of our Country, prayed, “Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words, and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of Thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy son, Jesus Christ.”
We join with our founders in giving thanks this and every day, praying that our most merciful and gracious God heal our nation and join our hearts. In His Name, we pray.